June 24, 2009

Business celebrates its anniversary...
with a BBQ for HALO's homeless men

A relatively new insurance agency is celebrating its first year in business by hosting a dinner at HALO, Racine's Homeless Assistance Leadership Organization.

Compass Insurance Group will provide a summer grill-out dinner, including brats, hotdogs, chips, salads and all the trimmings, cooked and served by the agency's employees and friends, for the men at HALO on Wednesday, July 1.

“Summer cookouts are fun for everyone” said John Freeze, president and founder of Compass. “What better way to mark our agency’s anniversary then by giving back to our community.”

Compass is inviting additional volunteers to join the fun by donating their time to cook or serve food at the event. Anyone interested should call Stacy Zwintscher at Compass, 262-456-0566, to sign up to work the cookout and give back to those in need.

One statement in the press release above struck me as strange: That Compass will feed just the men at HALO, who make up about half the homeless shelter's population of 100, which also includes women and children. So I asked Cheryl Buckley, HALO's executive director, about it.

She said this is not unusual at all. About 20 businesses, organizations and churches regularly provide a meal for HALO residents, some for all of them and some for just the men, or the women and children. "Compass is a small insurance company," she said. "Feeding our whole population would be daunting."

For example, once a month Journal Times employees come to HALO to cook and serve a meal for the women and children. Its next dinner will be July 3; sometimes it's reporters who do the work, sometimes other employees, including the publisher, Buckley said.

Three groups from SC Johnson come monthly, also feeding women and children, something they've done for a long time, a practice they began at the now defunct Homeward Bound. Seven churches serve dinner: Searching Together comes in monthly to feed everyone; St. Rita's, which was part of the REST program that HALO replaced, comes in monthly to feed just the men. Grace Baptist and Covenant Presbyterian are two more churches that cook for the residents.

Almost all these volunteer organizations provide dinner, but there used to be one that came in on the fifth Saturday to cook breakfast. Other groups, like All Saints, the Founders Rotary Club, Kiwanis, and various Scout troops come in once in a while, for a one-time meal project, usually for one half of HALO's population.

Nice to know. And maybe a nice project for one of the organizations that you belong to...


  1. When is this event?

  2. I just don't get why they separate the men from the women and children - doesn't seem right. I understand about the money part - but why not wait until you have enough money and help so everyone can enjoy the meal at the same time?

  3. Thanks, Chris. It's now in the story: Wednesday, July 1.

  4. Very nice! God Bless you for doing this!

  5. There are a lot of generous and giving people in this community. I wish more of them were recognized, however they don't do it to be recognized. They do it because they care about our community.